12 Nov

[2021] Travel and Conviviality in Early Modern Times


at University of Cologne

About the event

1 day in-person workshop on Friday, 12 November 2021
Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America (Mecila)/ Department of Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Cologne
Room 4.016, Hauptgebäude, Ground Floor, University of Cologne

The Workshop aims at taking a look at how travelers in early modern times organized their day-to-day interaction with other people: fellow travelers, guides and servants and people they got to know in their travels. These interactions were often shaped by inequality. We want to have a broad geographical look at early modern times to see if there were common patterns across regions. We are especially interested in non-elite or unusual travelers such as women whose voyage took them to colonized regions. We also want to look at concepts who might be useful to analyze these travel accounts: conviviality, inequality, (new) cosmopolitanism and social difference/diversity. Moreover, we are interested in the social structures in which these early modern travelers moved and how processes of social categorization worked within them.

The workshop is funded by the Maria Sibylla Merian Centre on Conviviality and Inequality in Latin America and organized by its associated researchers Dr. Raquel Gil Montero and PD Dr. Sarah Albiez-Wieck who work on a travel account by the Spanish peasant Gregorio de Robles who traveled extensive regions of America and Western/Central Europe in the late 17th and early 18th century; contemporary to Maria Sybilla Merian who gave the centre is name. Therefore we want to include scholars who work on Maria Sybilla Merian as a traveller, too. The aim is to provide historical insights on conviviality in unequal contexts “on the move” and to deepen the longue durée perspective. We are interested in proposing different contexts of conviviality: those of the traveler’s places of origin and those of their destination. It is very likely that non-elite travelers established new relationships and positioned themselves differently in the colonies. We propose to focus on the observation of the changes that the travelers underwent in their bonds and convivial relationships due to the fact of having changed continents. Members and fellows of Mecila will be invited to the Workshop.

The working language of the Workshop will be English.

Important Covid-related Information: In order to participate in the Workshop in person, we need you to prove your Covid-immunity according to the German “3-G” rules. That means you have to present one of the three following documents: Vaccination certificate, Certifcation of having recovered from Covid in the past six months or a recent negative Covid-test (48 hours max). There is a test-center on the campus.

Please register for participation writing to Ayu Requena Fuentes: Due to the pandemic situation the room only fits a limited number of participants.


Preliminary Program:

9:00- 9:45
Tilmann Heil (Mecila/University of Cologne):  Contesting conviviality. Conceptual, political, and epistemological explorations about a troubling wor(l)d

Dirk Brunke (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): Conviviality in times of distress. Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa: Sumaria relación (1590)

10:15-10:30 Coffee break

Raquel Gil Montero (CONICET/Mecila) & Sarah Albiez-Wieck (Mecila/University of Cologne): Conviviality on the move. The case of Gregorio de Robles, an early modern Spanish peasant traveler

Sophie Rose (Leiden University): Mobility and Diversity in the early modern Dutch Atlantic

Katharina Schmidt-Loske (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig): Maria Sibylla Merian’s Journey to Suriname (1699-1701) – Field Studies in an unknown Environment

12:45-14:15 Lunch Break

Rose Marie Tillisch (Centre for Pastoral Education and Research (FUV)): An 18th Century Explorer Discovering Underlying Structures of Colonization. Maria Sibylla Merian’s Observant Appreciation of Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge

15:00-15:15 Coffee break

Karen Lisboa (Universidade de São Paulo): Travelers in Portuguese America: experiences of dislocation and conviviality

Nelson Chacón Lesmes (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt): Enlightened science and scientific practice: Francisco José de Caldas and itinerant knowledge


Image: CC Trevelling in the Tyrch by Francis Elizabeth Wynne (1854-1864).